Inflammation and swelling of the sinuses can cause blockage of air and
fluid buildup that can be the perfect environment for bacteria, viruses,
and fungi to grow and result in infection. Conditions that cause sinus
blockage includes colds, allergic rhinitis, nasal polyps (small growths
in the lining of the nose) and a deviated septum (a shift in the nasal
cavity). If antibiotics and other medications are not effective in
opening up the sinuses and allowing mucus to move, surgery may be
necessary. Asthma often accompanies sinus conditions and may be better
controlled with sinus surgery. Structural abnormalities such as nasal
polyps and deviated septum may also require surgery to open the inflamed
sinuses and drain mucus, or a procedure to shrink the swollen tissues of
the nose may be the best treatment.
Most nosebleeds are not serious and can be controlled with first aid.
The less common type of nosebleed is called the posterior nosebleed,
tending to occur in elderly people. The bleeding comes from an artery in
the back of the nose and needs to be managed by a specialist who may
perform a surgical or radiologic procedure. Underlying disease, such as
the inability of the blood to clot, and liver disease, abnormal blood
vessels or cancers, may also cause nosebleeds.
Smell Disorders (hyposmia and anosmia)
Smell disorders include a loss in the ability to smell or changes in the
way odors are perceived. Hyposmia is when the ability to detect odor is
reduced. Anosmia is when a person can't detect odor at all. Some people
experience change in the perception of odors, or notice that familiar
odors become distorted, or may perceive a smell that is not present at
all. Smell disorders have many causes including illness including upper
respiratory infection, injury, polyps in the nasal cavities, sinus
infections, hormonal disturbances, dental problems, exposure to certain
chemicals such as insecticides and solvents, some medicines, and
radiation due to head and neck cancers. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension,
malnutrition, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple
sclerosis and Korsakoff syndrome (also called Korsakoff psychosis) are
all accompanied or signaled by chemosensory problems like smell
disorders. Surgery may be recommended when nasal polyps are the cause of
the smell disorder.
The nasal septum is made of cartilage, and divides the nose into two
separate chambers. A deviated septum is an abnormal configuration of the
cartilage that divides the two sides of the nasal cavity, which may
cause congestion, problems with proper breathing, or nasal discharge.
Estimates are that 80 percent of all nasal septums are off-center. A
deviated septum is when the septum is severely shifted away from the
midline. The most common symptom from a deviated septum is difficulty
breathing through the nose. The symptoms are usually worse on one side,
and in some cases the drainage of the sinuses is curtailed and results
in repeated sinus infections. A deviated septum may be present at birth,
caused by an injury, or result from damage from previous medical
Snoring and sleep apnea
Snoring happens when there is an obstruction to the free flow of air
through the passages at the back of the nose and mouth, where the tongue
and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. All these structures
vibrate during breathing and create the sound of snoring. Snoring can be
a sign of problems with the tonsils and adenoids, poor muscle tone in
the throat and tongue (when too relaxed the tongue falls backwards into
the airway), excessive bulkiness of the throat from swollen tonsils and
adenoids, cysts or tumors, or being overweight with excess soft tissue
in the neck. A long opening from the nose to the throat and an
obstructed nasal airway from nasal deformities such as a deviated septum
can also cause snoring. Snoring may also be the sign of a more serious
condition called sleep apnea, where there are several episodes of
breathing pauses caused by upper airway narrowing or collapse. This
results in less oxygen, causing the heart to work harder and poor rest.
It can be treated with a device that opens up the airways with a small
amount of pressure delivered through a nasal mask worn during sleep.
Surgery may also treat snoring and sleep apnea.
Nose Shape Abnormalities
Nasal deformity may be either functional or cosmetic. Functional
describes nasal breathing blockages, snoring, decreased smell or taste,
nose bleeds or chronic inflammation. A crooked septum (the middle
section of the nose composed of cartilage and bone), scar tissue,
collapse or weakening of structures in the nose. Cleft lip, cleft
palate, nasal mass or anomaly are deformities present at birth and can
be corrected by surgery. Nasal trauma may result in a fracture and
deviation and change both the appearance and functioning of the nose.
Some diseases can affect the appearance and function of the nose as
well. Cosmetic concern may involve patient perceptions about the
symmetry, length and width or tip of the nose and may be changed through
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